Dozens of innocent people are terrorized, shot, or killed each year because of botched SWAT team drug raids on wrong houses. Dozens more are killed each year because of botched SWAT team drug raids on the correct houses. This needless suffering and death is largely a result of the massive increase in police militarization in recent decades, the subject of the new video below.
Professor Abby Hall explains police militarization accelerated in the 1970s with the War on Drugs, which led to legislation that allowed the Department of Defense to share and transfer military weapons with local police departments. The use of these weapons by police departments has blurred the lines between the police and the military.
Hall explains the U.S. Founders’ emphasis on the “paradox of power” — or how to constrain the power of those who have it. She argues that a good place to start when it comes to the police would be to repeal this weapon sharing legislation. But ultimately, the best way to save lives and prevent suffering caused by police militarization is by public opinion concluding that SWAT teams and other militarized police tactics should not be used to police nonviolent offenses like drug use.